Howard Marks & Friends: Display Of Loyalty, Intelligence And More Than A Dash Of Welsh Spice…

VIVA Ems | 6th March 2015

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Kiri Bloore Reports…

Howard Marks Friday night concert at the Forum in London, was a typical display of loyalty, intelligence and more than a dash of Welsh spice.

The 69-year-old former dope smuggler-turned author appeared on stage with a star studded line up with a difference.  First to the stage was the wafer thin punk poet John Cooper Clarke who momentarily brought reality to the thousands of admiring fans, with the opening statement: “this was not an entirely happy occasion”. Un petered the fans applauded and screamed whenever possible to secure his legendry status as a showman and conscious poet.

Drugs and the Manchester days may have been mentioned once or twice, as well as a rendition of Bedblocker Blues and “I’ve Fallen in Love with My Wife.” Before the punk ledged meandered of stage.

A very excited and noisy crowd were silenced momentarily as the Welsh male voice choir dressed all in black, sang a version of the Welsh national anthem.

Finally it was time the reason thousands had qued in the cold, Howard Marks appeared on stage wearing a T-shirt bearing his alias Mr Nice.  Speaking candidly about a moment in his life, when things briefly seemed desperate enough to apply for a job with the government as a “drugs tsar”.  Humour told the irony of the job description. The sole purpose of the job was to eliminate illegal drugs. To roars in the crowd Howard simple said: “legalise it”

Charismatic funny and full of life, it was difficult to image a man who had been treated for cancer. Older maybe wiser but no doubt about it an incredible storyteller, the man with a message Mr Nice, was gone.

The intention of the concert that also saw Welsh band Super Furry Animals and singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews take to the stage as well as Manchester band Blind Arcade, was to use the money raised to set up a charitable foundation and to complete a documentary that he has been filming for the last two years.

Photo credit: Elspeth Mary Moore

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